Pub. Date:
Basic Books
Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room / Edition 1

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room / Edition 1

by David Weinberger
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We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.

Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker . . . if you know how. In Too Big to Know, Internet philosopher David Weinberger shows how business, science, education, and the government are learning to use networked knowledge to understand more than ever and to make smarter decisions than they could when they had to rely on mere books and experts.

This groundbreaking book shakes the foundations of our concept of knowledge—from the role of facts to the value of books and the authority of experts—providing a compelling vision of the future of knowledge in a connected world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465021420
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

David Weinberger is a Senior Researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. He is the author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined, Everything Is Miscellaneous, and a coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Crisis of Knowledge vii

1 Knowledge Overload 1

2 Bottomless Knowledge 19

3 The Body of Knowledge: An Introduction to the Rest of the Book 43

4 The Expertise of Clouds 47

5 A Marketplace of Echoes? 69

6 Long Form, Web Form 93

7 Too Much Science 121

8 Where the Rubber Hits the Node 159

9 Building the New Infrastructure of Knowledge 173

Acknowledgments 197

Notes 199

Index 219

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Marc Benioff, chairman, CEO, bestselling author of Behind the Cloud
“Led by the Internet, knowledge is now social, mobile, and open. Weinberger shows how to unlock the benefits.”


John Seely Brown, co-author of The Social Life of Information and A New Culture of Learning “Too Big to Know is a stunning and profound book on how our concept of knowledge is changing in the age of the Net. It honors the traditional social practices of knowing, where genres stay fixed, and provides a graceful way of understanding new strategies for knowing in today's rapidly evolving, networked world. I couldn't put this book down. It is a true tour-de-force written in a delightful way.” Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind“With this insightful book, David Weinberger cements his status as one of the most important thinkers of the digital age. If you want to understand what it means to live in a world awash in information, Too Big to Know is the guide you've been looking for.” Tony Burgess, Cofounder, “David Weinberger’s Too Big to Know is an inspiring read—especially for networked leaders who already believe that the knowledge to change the world is living and active, personal, and vastly interconnected. If, as David writes, “Knowledge is becoming inextricable from—literally unthinkable without—the network that enables it” our great task as leaders is to design networks for the greater good. David casts the vision and gives us excellent examples of what that looks like in action, even as he warns us of the pitfalls that await us.” David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United StatesToo Big to Know is a refreshing antidote to the doomsday literature of information overload. Acknowledging the important roles that smart mobs and wise crowds have played, David Weinberger focuses on solutions to the crisis in knowledge—translating information into new knowledge by exploiting the network.  Based upon the premise that ‘knowledge lives not in books, not in heads, but on the net,’ Weinberger outlines a bold net infrastructure strategy that is inclusive rather that exclusive, creates more useful information—metadata, exploits linking technologies, and encourages institutional participation.  The result is a network that is both ‘a commons and a wilds’ where the excitement lies in the limitless possibilities that connected human beings can realize.” Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive SurplusToo Big To Know is Weinberger's brilliant synthesis of myriad little debates—information overload, echo chambers, the wisdom of crowds—into a single vision of life and work in an era of networked knowledge.”


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Too Big to Know 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
getaneha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book, Weinberger offers yet his staunchest critique on well established conceptual and theoretical foundations of knowledge including the DIKW pyramid that most computer science and library science have incorporated in their curriculum in their foundations course. Another concept he took aim is information overload. Popularised by the technology futurist Alvin Toffler, the phrase resonates in the minds of librarians who for so long have hinged their value proposition on solving the problem of having too-much-information. In Too Big To know, in what seems a disruptive argument, Weinberger tells that too much information is actually a good thing. To support his argument, he cites Clay Shirky, who argues that "it is not information overload. It is filter failure". By providing several examples and writing rather beautifully, Weinberger contrasts the long-form argument of the Age of Books with the loosely connected webs of the Age of Networks in which he argues, the long form argument is a constraint inherited from the medium of print. Our thought process, nonetheless, works not in a simplistic, linear and long form ways but in an intricate web of links and associations which is better reflected in the Age of Networks. Scientists work in private in the Age of Books, after-the-fact peer-review is the norm, but in the Age of Networks, he argues, the filtering process is immediate, open and on the cloud. In short, he argues the abundance of crap and good that is generated through the network gets filtered by the network itself.Reading this book, one can surmise that Weinberger is for Open Access. He is for Open Internet. He is for Open Data. He is for Linked Data. Such an open ecology, Weinberger argues, provides a fertile ground for innovation and creativity. Weinberger seems to suggest that the influence of the Age of Books is fading and the time has come for the Age of Networks. Hence, he argues, knowledge is now residing in the network, not in any one genius skull. In many respects, Weinberger's Too Big To Know, is in agreement with arguments put forward by James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds and Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody. Perhaps a slight oversight in the book may be the notion of `information overload as good and inevitable' was first discussed by David Allen in his book Getting Things Done (2002). The book is relevant to the field of library and information science in many ways. The discussion on the value of metadata, especially on metadata that is generated by users in terms of user tagging, ratings, reviews, filtering, and recommendations (pp.186) is crucial for librarians who are at the cross-roads of choosing between old and new metadata paradigms. This book illuminates new ideas on library collections and provides a glimpse of what the future of libraries would look like, albeit Weinberger's discussion is at a philosophical level. Metadata is ultimately one of the solutions to the filter failure in which he asserts "the solution to the information overload problem is to create more metadata". This is a notion, I believe, we in library and information science should develop further.
paulsignorelli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Weinberger¿s "Too Big To Know" is everything we¿ve come to expect from him: engaging, thought-provoking, introspective, and even gently self-effacing. We gain a lot through Weinberger's ruminations on the nature of knowledge at a time when knowledge is far from defined solely by what is between the covers of books or peer-reviewed journals. It "is becoming a property of the network, rather than of individuals who know things, of objects that contain knowledge, and of the traditional institutions that facilitate knowledge," he writes (p. 182). This is placing us in a "crisis of knowledge," he maintains. We have to face the fact that the "Internet simply doesn¿t have what it takes to create a body of knowledge: No editors and curators who get to decide what is in or out. No agreed-upon walls to let us know that knowledge begins here, while outside uncertainty reigns--at least none that everyone accepts. There is little to none of the permanence, stability, and community fealty that a body of knowledge requires and implies. The Internet is what you get when everyone is a curator and everything is linked," (p. 45) yet that is where many of us currently turn for knowledge. But having read "Too Big to Know," we stand a little closer to a positive awareness of the problems and the strengths of our current relationship to a cohesive body of knowledge--for ourselves as well as for the learners so many of us work to serve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book gets off to a slow start once it picks up and really gets into the meat of the subject it is hard to put down. It is said the only constant is change but often we don't recognize the change because it is so gradual. Too Big To Know is a real eyeopener to the social change taking place on the planet. No longer are we separated by miles and time but, thanks to the internet, are living in an instant society and the way it is affecting who and what we are is nothing short of amazing.